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Nine in 10 Aussies Give to Charity as Trust Soars


6 August 2015 at 10:41 am
Xavier Smerdon
Charities have been rated as some of the most trustworthy institutions in Australia, ranked only behind doctors and police, and nine out of every 10 Australians have given to charity in the last year, a new report from the national regulator has found.

Xavier Smerdon | 6 August 2015 at 10:41 am


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Nine in 10 Aussies Give to Charity as Trust Soars
6 August 2015 at 10:41 am

Charities have been rated as some of the most trustworthy institutions in Australia, ranked only behind doctors and police, and nine out of every 10 Australians have given to charity in the last year, a new report from the national regulator has found.

The report, Public trust and confidence in Australian charities, by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), found that 87 per cent of Australians made some form of contribution to charity in the last year and 78 per cent of people supported at least one charity regularly.

ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe, said Australians were renowned for their generosity and the findings from the study supported this.

“Australians donate billions of dollars to charity to each year. This can be partly attributed to the fact that Australian charities are seen as very trustworthy,” Pascoe said.

The study which examined public trust and confidence in charities found people view charities as amongst the most trustworthy institutions in Australia, rating higher than the High Court, the Reserve Bank, religious organisations and the Federal Parliament.

While charities received an overall score of 6.4 out of 10 for trustworthiness, the survey also found that people still thought charities could be wasteful when it came to spending.

“Perceptions of wastefulness had a negative effect on trust in charities; that is, a belief that charities spend too much on administration, salaries, advertising and fundraising or general wastefulness could result in respondents trusting charities less,” the report said.

Respondents to the survey also said they do not trust charities that pay sales people to raise funds.

“Charities as a whole were rated as the third most trustworthy institution in Australia, behind only doctors and the police. The public rated charities as more trustworthy than the High Court, Reserve Bank and both State and Federal Parliament,” Pascoe said.

CEO of Community Council for Australia (CCA), David Crosbie, told Pro Bono Australia News that there was still room for improvement when it came to charitable giving.

“Whenever there is a bushfire, flood, or other major disaster, Australians have shown themselves to be generous and giving. This may reflect a long tradition of Australians supporting one another in tough times,” Crosbie said.

“Where Australians seem to lag behind others is the regular ongoing giving that is so critical in underwriting the work of many Australian charities.  

“It is encouraging to again see the level of trust Australians have in charities and the work of the ACNC in increasing transparency is to be commended.  

“At the same time, we have quite a lot of work to do to better enable programs like workplace giving, and to better promote the idea that all Australians should donate a small percentage of their salary to charity.  

“Figures from the ATO suggest this percentage is currently sitting around 0.35 per cent, but it has been as high as 0.45 per cent prior to the GFC, and our goal should be to get it closer to one per cent.”

According to the new research, while there was relatively low awareness of a national regulator of charities, and specifically the name of the ACNC, awareness had increased by five per cent between 2013 and 2015 from 37 per cent to 42 per cent. Only eight per cent could recall the name ACNC.

Despite this, Pascoe said the ACNC’s work, specifically that of building a publicly available and searchable register of charities, had played a part in charities being viewed as trustworthy.

“The Charity Register is significant in creating trust in Australian charities. The research found that 73 per cent of people thought the Register was very important,” she said.

“Members of the public are able to search the Register to see if a charity is registered, and then find out what it does, where it operates, the people who run it, the rules it needs to follow, as well as its financial information.

“The Register creates transparency around charities’ activities so the public can be confident their donation will be used for its intended purpose. To date, the Charity Register has received nearly a million views.”

The ACNC’s full report can be found here.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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